They came from everywhere to be there on the evening of 25 May 2023, or indeed to take part in the role of artists and speakers. Business students and biologists, philosophers and physicists alike all responded to the Munich University Society’s invitation to the second major Science Slam in the Walther Straub auditorium on LMU’s medical campus.
“Today is for getting excited and celebrating the boundless diversity of science!” LMU Vice President and patron the event Oliver Jahraus told an ecstatic audience in his welcome address. In keeping with the motto of “A different take on science”, the laid-back format even attracted students and researchers from other universities to LMU.
Every last chair was filled before the event got underway, with the gathering already in high spirits. A total of 12 slammers pitted their wits against each other in three categories: Poetry Slam, Free Style and TED Talk. The rules were simple: Each participant had exactly five minutes to convince the audience. The volume of applause – measured in decibels with strict academic rigor by an app – would determine the winner. Yet for the whole evening, the indicator never slipped out of the red zone.
The acts on stage were an eclectic mix of topics, specialisms and performance styles. One moment the audience listened spellbound to a thought-provoking poem about the Anthropocene and the death of Mother Nature; the next, they were crying with laughter as doctoral history researcher Simon Hauser, dressed like a nun, raced through the convent literature of the 15th century, spewing out one exquisite one-liner after the other. “Don’t laugh so much, I haven’t got that much time!”
While veterinary student Franziska Berchtold recited an ode to the cow in all her “bovine perfection”, Andrei Vinnik even got the audience singing along to his musical interpretation of two poems by Hannah Arendt. That was enough to win him thunderous applause and first prize in the Free Style category. “I took part last time as well, and this time I wanted to win,” the student of music and media said.
Ultimately, though, winning was only a secondary matter. The main focus was on the various contributors, each of whom wanted to ‘infect’ others with a palpable passion for their subject. Whatever else happened during the LMU event, this goal was certainly reached on the night.
Munich University Society.A review of the MUG Slams of the last years can be found on the website of the